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See this 83-year-old home's bathroom go from dreary to dreamy

Transforming the chopped-up, non-functioning room into a beautiful master bath was the top priority for a young couple who purchased a 1933 home last year.
/ Source: Houzz

A leaky tub, the home’s Tudor style and the homeowners’ desire to inject some eclectic fun all influenced this vintage-style master bathroom.


Transforming the chopped-up, non-functioning room into a beautiful master bath was the top priority for a young couple who purchased this 1933 home last year.

“One of my clients is British and she said, ‘People think I’m stuffy because of my accent, but I’m really fun and I want the room to be fun,’ ” says principal designer Amy Gill, who also acted as the general contractor on the project.

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“She made a Houzz ideabook so that I could get a sense of her style — she likes clean and white, shabby chic mixed with more contemporary style, and also wanted to add some eclecticism.” The result is a bathroom that befits the home’s architecture and feels like it’s always been there.


Bathroom at a glance

Who lives here: A married couple (she’s a massage therapist and he’s a police officer) and their 18-month-old

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Size: About 110 square feet (10 square meters)

A large dresser-turned-vanity adds a big dose of the eclecticism the homeowners wanted. The wife found the dresser on Craigslist and painted it herself.

Designer Amy Gill recommended vessel sinks to protect the wood top from spills and to preserve more of the wood top for placing cosmetics and other toiletries. Square-ish vessel sinks and streamlined polished nickel faucets add modern contrast to the antique piece.


The couple already had the mirror. Its black and gilt frame adds texture and a classic look.

“The homeowners were very respectful of the architecture and wanted the bathroom to feel old and authentic to the home’s era,” Gill says.

There are several layers of light in this bathroom. In the mirror you can see the elegant crystal chandelier. Two vintage-style sconces provide good makeup light at the vanity, while ceiling lights illuminate the bathtub.

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The chandelier, lacy curtains and claw-foot tub provide shabby chic touches, while the dark accents on the door, dresser, floor, sconces and mirror keep the room from feeling too frilly. While the husband wasn’t wild about the chandelier idea, it was a must-have for her. The room is about a couple compromising to find a historically appropriate style that suited them both.


BEFORE: The bathroom, last renovated in the 1990s, was chopped up and dated. There was no shower, and the tub leaked into the master bedroom below. The couple never used it.

However, they decided to move the master bedroom upstairs and make this bathroom part of the suite.

AFTER: “He is really tall so we needed to place the shower here. Also, a door would have felt too tight, so we used one panel of glass and made it a walk-in,” Gill says. Don’t let the photo deceive you — there’s plenty of room for the husband to walk in without ducking. A shower bench tucks in under the slanted roofline. On the right, a dormer provides enough head room for the toilet (no pun intended).

Hexagonal black tile on the shower floor presents a strong contrast to the white subway tile on the walls. Charcoal gray grout marries the black and white.

“We also chose gray to make the subway tile pop, otherwise there would be too much white,” Gill says.


The bathroom floor is ceramic but is digitally printed to resemble hardwood.

“Since we wanted the wood tile to look as much like real wood as possible, we did a random joint pattern with the narrowest grout line possible with a true color match,” Gill says. “So while we were looking for high contrast in the subway tile and grout, we wanted as little contrast in the wood-look tile as possible.”

Keeping within a budget was also a concern. Though the homeowners wanted marble, using a lot of it was not in their budget, so they used it in a bullnose detail around the shower. Gill also chose porcelain hexagonal tile for the shower floor rather than the more expensive stone she often uses.

The wife was craving a claw-foot tub but it didn’t fit into the original budget.

“She decided since they were going to all of this trouble that she should go ahead and go for it, and it really makes a dramatic impact as you enter the room,” Gill says. They were able to find a beautiful tub from Signature Hardware for less than $1,000. Overhead, the designer used simple track lights, another money saver.

“We needed lighting over the tub but wanted it to be as minimal as possible so as not to draw attention away from the bathtub,” she explains.

Placing the tub underneath the slanted ceiling of the gable made the most of the space. Beadboard painted the same color as the rest of the walls gives the eye a straight horizontal line to rest on in a room where the ceilings and walls create diagonals that could otherwise be jarring. The beadboard was another budget-friendly move: Gill bought a kit from Home Depot for less than $100 that included MDF beadboard, baseboard and crown.

“I was a little nervous about how it would turn out, but it took the paint beautifully and it looks great,” she says. “It ties everything together and dresses it up — otherwise there would have been too much drywall.”